Infiniti is backing out of western Europe, a market that never warmed to to the brand, and ditching diesels in favor of electrification under a restructuring plan Nissan announced today.
Under the plan, Infiniti will focus on North America and China, its two biggest markets, and stay the course in eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Giving up on western Europe almost certainly means Infiniti will drop the QX30 compact crossover, which is built at Nissan's factory in Sunderland, England. The pullout is planned for next year.
Underneath, the QX30 is a Mercedes-Benz GLA250, produced under partnership between Infiniti and the German automaker. The two companies currently share resources at a common factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico. In January 2017, Infiniti canceled its plans to utilize a new jointly-funded luxury car platform slated to be built at the facility, in part because Infiniti sales were underforming. Changing customer preferences for more SUVs, particularly in North America, also factored into the decision.
Infiniti will stop offering diesel engines as it shifts its focus toward electric drivetrains in 2021. It also plans to bring more SUVs to the United States and offer five new models in China. The automaker says the restructuring will lead to “more synergies with Nissan Motor Company,” which could mean we’ll see less differentiation between the two brands and more models that are largely the same beneath the body.
The company says it is working to find other jobs for anyone adversely impacted by the plan, and will provide training and support for transition “where appropriate.” It also must begin negotiating with dealers to end franchise agreements. The plan calls for keeping dealerships open until Infiniti develops a plan for providing service and meeting warranty claims.
2017 Infinity QX30